Expert Q&A

Extreme dieting: How much can you lose?

If I eat 1,000 calories a day, walk for 30 minutes everyday, and drink 10, 8-ounce glasses of water, how much weight should I expect to lose?

-Trenna from Missouri

By restricting your diet to 1,000 calories per day you are almost certainly underfeeding yourself. This practice may result in immediate short-term weight loss. However, in the long run, you will inevitably slow down your metabolism to the point where you will struggle to lose any weight at all. What’s worse—later on you will find that you gain weight easily when you increase your calorie intake.

While increasing your water intake is a helpful weight loss tactic, the most important concept is to eat enough—and not too many—calories. Not being active and consuming excess calories contributes to weight gain; increasing activity and reducing calories promotes weight loss.

To figure out how many calories you need per day for weight loss, here is a simple calculator.

A registered dietitian can help you better determine your exact calorie needs for weight loss. You can find a dietitian in your area by visiting the American Dietetic Association’s Find a Nutrition Professional webpage.

Katie Clark, MPH, RD
Contributing Expert

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